Bai Yunfei never wanted to cry as much as he did when he finally came back into eye-range of the small and quiet village…
It took half a day to get back here, but Lao Sha had somehow managed to get the both of them back….
The dog had been like a compass. It walked straight and true in a single linear direction and somehow got Bai Yunfei back to the village without any issues.
Bai Yunfei sent a withering glare at the dog and aimed a small playful kick at the dog.
“Damn dog, why didn’t you say you knew the way back home earlier?!”
But on the other hand, it was good that Lao Sha didn’t understand him any earlier. He wouldn’t have been able to find that one mountain and gather so many of the materials if the dog took him back home sooner.
Something felt off when he entered the village. A lot of people were there, yes, but the atmosphere in the village seemed quite heavy…
“Stone and the others should be back by now…”
He muttered to himself as he walked into the village. He didn’t see any of the villagers on his way back, so Bai Yunfei figured that they were all already back here in the village.
For some reason, Bai Yunfei felt a little disappointed. He thought the villagers would at least send out a party to look for him…
“Ah! Look! He’s back!!”
But then someone’s voice called out over the noise of the village as a villager took notice of Bai Yunfei’s return.
Multiple villagers began to appear out from their homes. Running quickly to where Bai Yunfei was, more and more villagers started to talk to one another in shock. Of the many villagers, the one who was at the front of the group was Stone.
“Big brother Tang! It’s really you! You’re back! That’s great!!” Saying Stone was excited was an understatement. He was practically gliding over the ground in his attempt to reach Bai Yunfei. “Where have you been for the last five days?! Everyone’s been worried sick! We were planning for another search for you!”
“What?!” Bai Yunfei cried out. “What did you say? I was gone for five days?”
It should’ve only been a day since he left the village and came back! How could it possibly be five days?!
“It’s been five days since you were chased by that tiger! We spent four days looking for you before we came back. We were taking a break today and planning to head back out tomorrow! But…I guess we don’t need to since you’re back! Where the heck did you even run off ta, big brother Tang?”
Bai Yunfei didn’t know how to respond. If what Stone was saying was true, then he didn’t just take a small ‘nap’ after drinking that strange liquid. It made him fall asleep for…five days almost!
He remembered going into the cave when it was morning and heading out when it was near noon. It didn’t feel off to say only a few hours passed, so Bai Yunfei only assumed that was the case!
Five days…Somehow Bai Yunfei managed to sleep away five whole days! Why didn’t he sense that something was off then? Surely he would’ve felt hungry or thirsty after sleeping for so long!
So that was the reason why no one came to look for him, four days had already been spent looking for him!
Several other villagers were gathered around Bai Yunfei now. Several were asking him questions on why he wasn’t found, others were asking how he managed to come back now.
Since he didn’t know the concrete details himself, Bai Yunfei wasn’t able to answer much. He only said that he got lost on the way back and only managed to find his way back after a long time of wandering around.
Bai Yunfei noticed a group of villagers a little ways away from the others. One villager, in particular, had a saddened expression on their face. Bai Yunfei noted that Lucid looked even a little ‘angry’ at him. Confused, he turned to Stone, “Stone…did you not find any of herbs we needed?”
The conversation around them grew still the moment Bai Yunfei asked the question. Several of the people around him looked gloomy.
“We didn’t get ta look at many places. We did find a few herbs, but not any of the joint grass, so…”
Stone didn’t have to say the reason why they didn’t get to scavenge around for much, the reason why was implied.
Everyone was spending more time in trying to find Bai Yunfei, which meant the precious time they had to look for any herbs was cut short.
That’d explain the reason why Lucid was giving him such a hostile expression. It made sense; if uncle Wang’s arm wasn’t able to be healed because of him, Bai Yunfei would blame himself as well…
But luckily, that outcome could be avoided.
Quickly, Bai Yunfei took out the sack containing the jointgrass from his robes. “Take this to elder Zhong, hurry now. There’s four stalks of jointgrass in there, we should be able to make some of that elixir!”
Everyone let out a collective gasp at Bai Yunfei’s words. Stone took the sack from Bai Yunfei and took out the contents for another villager to confirm.
“It really is jointgrass! Four of them! And some other rare herbs! Hurry, Stone! Take it to elder Zhong!”
A villager cried out in confirmation. Stone snapped to attention at once and put the herbs back into the sack so he could speed off into a small house to the right.
“Brother…brother Tang! Thank you so much!”
Lucid was in front of Bai Yunfei now. Though tired from the events of the past few days, the gratitude in her voice overshadowed the fatigue.
Bai Yunfei smiled. “Thanks won’t be necessary. I hope elder Zhong will be able to make the elixirs and treat uncle Wang’s arm soon.”
No other person in the village was as worried for the elixir than Lucid was. Bowing her head one last time, the girl quickly ran off to the house where elder Zhong was.
Now the villagers were looking at Bai Yunfei in a new light. He was an ‘outsider’ and the villagers—despite their kind-hearted nature—naturally excluded him for being as such. But he truly did distinguish himself today with preventing any of the villagers from dying from that tiger and gathering four stalks of jointgrass. Multiple lives were saved then and uncle Wang’s arm would be saved now. How could the villagers not feel grateful for such a contribution?
It went without saying that the villagers were more willing to accept him now. Bai Yunfei would be considered as one of them rather than a mysterious ‘outsider’.
While the other villagers were busy waiting for elder Zhong to finish his preparations, Bai Yunfei took the sack of primal stones over to uncle Wu and his father. Neither of the two males knew what the stones were, however, and were just as amazed as Bai Yunfei was at how the stones glowed.
Lao Sha also took the opportunity to take another one of the primal stones into its mouth when they were taken out before running off to the back of the house to take a nap.
Again, Bai Yunfei wasn’t quite sure how he should feel about this. This dog was an even bigger mystery than he was. Should Lao Sha even be called a dog? Was there even such a thing as a dog being able to eat stones?
A meal was being made by uncle Wu’s wife, and the entire house was soon basked in the nice-smelling smoke of food from the kitchen. Only then was Bai Yunfei aware of the fact that he was hungry. He placed a hand onto his own stomach. How in the world had he survived for five whole days without eating?
Aunty Xu was just emerging out from the kitchen with several plates of food when Stone came back to the house. He had good news too.
Elder Zhong was already done making and administering the needed elixirs to uncle Wang, and it seemed like uncle Wang would be making a full recovery. Thanks to the miraculous elixir, uncle Wang would be back to full health before tomorrow.
To this, Bai Yunfei had to admit he was very curious about something. If the world had elixirs as miraculous as this, what kind of people were these ‘Immortals’ then? Could they really fly like Stone said they could?
“Hey, big brother Tang? What are these rocks? They’re so pretty, I’ve never seen rocks that light up before!”
Stone called out to Bai Yunfei as he was thinking to himself. He was looking at the pile of primal stones Bai Yunfei dropped earlier in amazement.
“I found the herbs on the same mountain as those rocks. I never saw them before so I decided to take some back…” Bai Yunfei smiled. He didn’t mention the fact that Lao Sha was able to eat them since he felt like it was an extremely incredible thing to think about; he was also actually afraid that the village would think Lao Sha was some kind of ‘monster’ for being able to eat them. Who knew what would happen in that case…
Lao Sha probably understood that last bit as well, as the dog only made sure to eat the primal stones when it was sure no one else was looking.
“It feels pretty nice to hold. Can I have one, big brother Tang?” Stone couldn’t help himself from picking up one of the egg-sized stones in his curiosity.
“Haha, of course. Take whichever you like.”
“What are you two doing squatting there on the floor? Let’s hurry and eat.”
Aunty Xu called out to the two boys at that moment, causing both of them to look away from the stones and head for the table to eat.
It was a pleasant meal. Everyone was chatting and laughing merrily as they ate, and Bai Yunfei felt at ease.
Bai Yunfei felt at ease, living an ordinary life in this village…